File Photo/Courtesy DPS
Hope to make an arrest soon
By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – The little luck a motorcyclist has left after walking away from crashing his bike at high speed during a police chase on Aug. 2 is likely about to be up as law enforcement believes an arrest will be made soon.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety has been looking for the rider of a black motorcycle that was recorded speeding at 130 mph on U.S. Highway 191 North. The rider eluded pursuing officers as he made his way into Graham County. However, at about 6:40 p.m. Graham County Dispatch received an alert from an Apple automatic system that the owner was in a severe crash within six meters of where the device pinged in the area of E. Clifton Street and S. Gila Avenue.
Deputies with the Graham County Sheriff’s Office searched the area and noticed something in the distance in a cotton field. Deputies and officers with the DPS then located a crashed motorcycle roughly 100 yards into the field from the road.
A riding jacket, helmet, and backpack were located about 50 yards from the scene of the crash, but the rider was nowhere to be found. A perimeter search was conducted with the assistance of officers from the Safford and Thatcher police departments, but the rider was not located.
The motorcycle came back registered to Lawrence Harrison Benally, of Farmington, New Mexico. Graham County Dispatch called the phone number the Apple automated system informed about and a man answered. The dispatcher asked him if he had been in an accident and if he was ok. The man then said, “Oh crap,” and hung up the phone, according to a Graham County Sheriff’s Office report. Dispatch was unable to reestablish contact.
On Thursday, DPS Media Relations Specialist Bart Graves said the case was still under investigation but the department hopes to “make an arrest soon.”